The African Cup of Nations kicked off in one of the most bizarre fashion with all the teams drawing their games, with the exception of Mali who secured a late goal against fellow neighbours Niger Republic. South Africa opened the game against debutant Cape Verde; it was a game that most plaudits gave kudos to the islanders for the way they played with purpose – bearing in mind that they eliminated the indomitable Lions of Cameroun to qualify for the biannual tournament. The Cape Verdean might not have the experience when it comes to big occasion, but Luis Antunes – an air controller by profession has made the Islanders difficult to beat and this should be a major concern for their opponent, if however they do get eliminated, it would be down to experience.The y were able to force the Bafana Bafana of South Africa to a goalless draw, they had flashes of opportunities through their danger man Platini The South African on the other hand have their work cut out for them, they could not make their home advantage count, for a country that has a well organised football league system, their display in the opening game was less than impressive, they must be missing a player Steve Pinnaar calibre who retired from International football to concentrate on his club career. South African would have to up their game against their next opponent. The other opening game between the Atlas Lions of Morocco and the Angola ended in a stalemate. Both team start on a cautious note but gradually increased the tempo of the game. Morocco has been rebuilding their since the departure of Belgian coach Eric Greet. They created chances in the first have but could not turn them over, The Angola on the other hand started asserting themselves in the second half and began to create chances as well, the South west African team led by former Manchester United player Manucho would be happy to share the spoil with their opponents.
The team in the second group took the centre stage at the Port Elizabeth venue; Ghana played their opening game against the Democratic republic of Congo. The lunched out in a blistering start show with all intent their ambition to get the early goals, they threatened a bit but the central African gradual settled into the game quite well and resisted the initial onslaught of the Black Stars of Ghana. The Ghanaian team broke the deadlock through Agyman Badu, increased the tally later right at the beginning of the second half with a header form Juventus Midfielder Kwado Asmoah. The situation at this point looked daunting for the Congolese – However their resilience paid of when Mpute reduced the tally, sixteen minutes later Belgian base Mbokani level through a penalty. The games initial’s high tempo wore off toward the end of the game. The Ghanaian manager Kwesi Appiah would face huge criticism if they fail to win their next game. The other group game brought more the delight to the competition as the Mali recorded the first victory of the competition. They faced neighbours Niger republic in a very tight encounter, former Barcelona man Seydou Keita lost a host of chances but his hard work paid off toward the end of the game as he scored a goal that put them firmly on top of the group.
South Africa 0 Cape Verde 0
Morocco 0 Angola 0
Ghana 2 DR Congo 2
Mali 1 Niger 0
Watch out the review of Group C and D tomorrow
Oba Adeola Amokomowo
IB Times Bundesliga/African Contributor
twitter - @ amoky